1. Rudy Gobert
Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were both dealt by a tanking Jazz team, but the first deal for the titanic French center rattled the NBA to the degree that Kevin Durant’s trade value was thrown out of whack. The haul Utah got for Gobert from a needy Minnesota team was ridiculous.
Toronto showed some degree of interest in Gobert when trade talks were in their infancy, but there’s no way that Ujiri would allow the Jazz to take four first-round picks, a pick swap, and proven professional players like Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. Toronto would have had to give up a starter and all of their draft picks to get Gobert.
The Toronto Raptors didn’t go after Rudy Gobert.
Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby (or possibly both of them, given what Minnesota threw away) are an automatic 30 points every night with tremendous two-way skill. Trading two young standouts for Gobert, who is offensively limited, could sink the Raptors from a schematic and financial point of view.
There’s nothing wrong with Minnesota getting their man in order to inject some life into the franchise, but there’s also nothing wrong with Toronto excusing themselves from the discussions after balking at such a preposterous return package. One awkward ankle turn and Toronto’s postseason hopes could’ve gone up in flames.